Misreading and Distorting the Sri Lankan War, 2009-2012

Michael Roberts 25 May 2012

The recent UNHRC resolution sponsored by USA and directed at the government of Sri Lanka was the culmination of a campaign that began during the last stages of Eelam War IV. Since 2010 articulate circles in the West have been convinced that there had been “40,000 civilian deaths” during this phase. In contrast Rohan Gunaratna asserted that there were 1400 civilian deaths, of which 200 were inflicted by the LTTE. Both calculations are erroneous. Estimates provided by three moderate Tamils who have had regular access to the Tamil personnel who were on the ground indicate that the death toll, inclusive of Tamil Tiger personnel, was in the range 10,000 to 16,000, in circumstances where it was impossible to differentiate in all cases between those Tiger, those recently conscripted as auxiliaries and those truly civilian.

 Tamils streaming across Nandikadal Lagoon probably late April–Pic by AFP

It is towards the clarification of these specific circumstances and a criticism of the claims presented by a variety of human rights agencies, moral crusaders and media engines that this essay is directed. The campaign has been sustained by a mixture of lies and half-truths amidst truths, compounded further by a wilful blindness to the manner in which the LTTE utilised the Tamil populace in its domain as labour pool, protective shield and bargaining chip meant to induce a ”humanitarian intervention.” The massaging of death toll figures, therefore, is just one facet of a massive propaganda heist.

Death Toll, January-May 2009: As the SL Army advanced on three fronts, the LTTE lost control of the A9 arterial road and its administrative capital at Kilinochchi by 1 January 2009. Thereafter, its forces and the people they had herded together were trapped in the Vanni Pocket, namely, the north eastern corner of the island between the A9 and the coast, a district-size chunk of territory that shrank continuously as the government forces advanced till the Tigers and remaining civilians – roughly 200,000 in crude estimate — were sandwiched into 42 square kilometres in mid-April.

 Tiger dead at Puthukkudiyiruppu -Pic from Ministry of Defence web site

After the remaining Tiger terrain was captured by mid-May 2009, the first estimates of the numbers killed that were presented by Holmes, the UN representative, in Colombo, was 7,721. Further down the track his former media officer at that time, Gordon Weiss appeared before the ABC and claimed that the death toll was between 10,000 and 40,000. Even as late as June 2011 the Times in London referred to 20,000 civilian dead in the course of a summary review of the Sri Lankan war.

However, the UN Panel of Experts appointed on his own initiative by Ban Ki-Moon presented their report (the Darusman Report) in March 2011 and stated that the original figure of 7,721 was at the lower end of the scale and there could have been “as many as 40,000 deaths.”

In next to no time this speculation became hard fact in news items from prestigious media chains. Thus, Kerry O’Brien of ABC asserted that “40,000 civilians were killed” and spoke of the “brutal slaughter of humans.” The widespread acceptance of this type of claim was largely the product of the emotional appeal of the Channel 4 documentary called “Killing Fields.” Gordon Weiss chipped in by highlighting his position under the rubric “Sri Lanka’s “Srebenica Moment.”

The imagery associated with these two moments of state-organised genocide in Kampuchea and Serbia had the impact they were designed to arouse. Despite its weak evidential foundation and explicit surmise, the figure of 40,000 became an established fact in some minds. Also occluded was the character of the UN panel under Darusman and the appalling analytical capacities displayed within its report.

The Shortcomings of the Darusman Report: It is remarkable that Ban Ki-Moon selected three individuals from a legal background to undertake a survey of a military campaign in a land with which they had limited geographical knowledge and no cultural familiarity. The absence of military expertise and social science capacities are immediately apparent in its coverage.

Independent academics working with the Marga Research Institute in Colombo have shown that there was “a large lacuna [in this] information gathering exercise”; that many sources were not divulged and that significant omissions meant that the Panel relied “on a one-sided body of sources.” Indeed, the “adversarial stance” taken by the Darusman Panel resulted not only in findings marred by internal contradictions, but also revealed a failure to comprehend “the formidable challenge which the government faced.”

This was a failure of contextualization and proportionality. A balanced review cannot focus on death estimates without placing the figure beside the number of Tamils, both Tiger and genuine civilian, who survived. We now know that at around 280-290,000, including roughly 11,000 deemed Tiger, emerged alive from the crucible of the Vanni Pocket between January and mid-May 2009.

By mid-April 2009 about 60,000 had reached the safety of government territory by sneaking through on land or sea. On the 19-23 April the army breached the LTTE”s last redoubt in a remarkable operation. State media images on TV and print revealed streams of people, including Tigers who had downed arms, struggling across lagoon and dune to safety. As Reddy from India described the scene, “an international and local media team that visited the area on a military-conducted tour saw for itself the terror-stricken faces.” This mass has been variously estimated as 103,000, 106,000 and even 120,000, but it included many Tiger fighters and such leading LTTE functionaries as Daya Master and George Master.

The Darusman Report’s failure to give weight to such events is quite remarkable. This shortcoming is compounded by its refusal to give adequate weight to the character of the LTTE regime.

The LTTE War Machine: Prabhakaran has been described by former colleagues as well as Tamil dissidents as a person who believed in the pre-emptive strike and the killing of individuals who stood in his way. The LTTE had spurned the opportunity of self-determination via negotiation in both 1995 and 2006. Throughout the ceasefire-period 2002-06 it built up its military capacities. This preparation included paramilitary training for civilians.

When the LTTE initiated Eelam War IV in July 2006 it was confident of success. Matters turned out different. By late 2007 their military capacity in the Eastern Province had been reduced to nil. By January 2008 they lost control of the north western coastline which had enabled a supply of arms from India. Outgunned and outmanned, their troops were forced into a retreat that moved from west to east for the most part. They used landmines, bunds, trenches and booby traps to slow down the government forces.

The LTTE also increased its conscription of civilians to build these defences and replenish its troops. At the same time the civilian population was induced to retreat en masse ahead of the battle lines – moving from west to east. Though subject to multiple displacements, these people faced limited danger at the outset in 2008. But from January 2009 they were in increasing danger of being submerged in the crossfire.

 Tent city of Tamils herded into the coastal strip as so many sandbags-UAV pic supplied by Victor Ivan

This was the LTTE’s intent. The civilians were, now, not only a source of labour and conscripts; they were also hostages shielding the Tigers and providing a concern for humanitarian agencies which intervened and sought a ceasefire from the warring parties. Since the LTTE had no intention of releasing the Tamil people or respecting any ceasefire, such interventions were in fact a form of military aid for the LTTE. The humanitarian outcry raised by AI, HRW, ICG as well as some Western leaders was also a potential escape route that would have enabled the LTTE leadership to return to the fight another day.

The reasoning of the LTTE leadership was revealed subsequently by Kumaran Pathmanathan (their principal logistics man abroad): “when I reflect upon the past I think the LTTE leadership also had no choice. If they released the people first, then only the Tigers would be left there. Thereafter all of them could have been wiped out.”

The shielding capacity of the mass of civilians was all the more because, from 2008 if not earlier, most Tigers were fighting in check-shirts, trousers, shorts and sarongs. The SL army’s night operations and the success of their snipers as well as the exigencies of retreat encouraged such a policy. As General Fonseka told an investigator one aspect of the LTTE military tactics at this point was to mingle with fleeing Tamil civilians in order to infiltrate army lines and wreak havoc from within.

In a communiqué on the 9th March 2009 Blake, the US ambassador in Colombo, noted that “the LTTE maintains the fiction that civilians do not want to leave. All evidence points to the contrary: several civilians have been shot trying to escape, many others have escaped.” Anna Neistat of HRW was equally adamant on this point in March 2009 after meeting Tamils in refugee camps who had fled the war zone.

Though Weiss and the Darusman Report mention such facts, their overall reviews downplay the significance and focus largely on the government’s role in the injury of “civilians” through indiscriminate shelling. Their estimates of the civilian dead simply gloss over the difficulty of distinguishing civilian and Tiger; and attach little weight to the fact that the LTTE was the creator of this circumstance: the sandwich situation in which their own Tamil populace was placed and their use as so many sandbags.

Channel 4 went further in manufacturing a lie: they asserted that the Tamil “civilians were driven from their homes by government forces.” Amidst numerous sources, the writings of the Hindu correspondent as well as the Tamil journalist DBS Jeyaraj provide conclusive evidence against such calumny. In a passionate essay in April 2009 Jeyaraj, a senior Tamil journalist writing from Toronto, spoke of the situation of his Tamil people under the LTTE as “an open prison” and celebrated the escape “from bondage” of 103,000 “entrapped” people that was secured by an army operation between the 19th and 23rd April 2009. In noting that some civilians may have died in the course of the war, he contended that those who reached safety had gained that “most important human right, namely the right to life;” while adding that “it is a matter of record that soldiers involved in the evacuation have been deeply touched by the tragic situation of civilians.”

Summary: What we have seen in the last four years therefore is a tale of successful dissimulation that has built on half-truths by the addition of lies and the wilful neglect of significant factors. The 40,000 figure on death toll is a surmise that has gained a definitiveness that it cannot bear; while disregarding the extent to which people died through natural causes exacerbated by the starvation diet forced upon them, the high incidence of death by snake bite during journeys through jungle (highlighted by Anandasangaree, the veteran Tamil politician); and failing to enumerate the 600 or so dissident Tamil prisoners executed by the LTTE once they found them a burden.

Nick Paton-Walsh of the Channel 4 team being evicted from Lanka after their secret filming of the IDP detention centres in April 2009

  Muralidhar Reddy of the Hindu at LTTE bunker hospital -mid May 2009

Such details have been conveniently forgotten by the media outlets. Since sensational news is their bread and butter this is not surprising. But the moral crusaders have no such excuse. It would seem that emotion and a tendency to evaluate complex scenarios in black and white terms have clouded their judgment. They have also tended to draw upon data provided by Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates who are driven by emotion of a different character: that of vengeance for the discrimination suffered by their people over the last forty years. Such individuals as Daran in England and Jegan Waran in Australia have supplied politicians and media agencies with one-sided and questionable data.

Revenge has likewise promoted the activities of Sinhalese journalists and other who have fled in the face of intimidation from the Rajapaksa government in recent years. Westerners such as Benjamin Dix who have worked in LTTE territory and developed ideological attachments towards the cause of Eelam also seem to have gone overboard in their testimonies.

Such combinations have revealed a capacity to mount an effective propaganda war that has captured the high ground. It is only “high ground” in terms of power exerted. As I have argued, its neglect of detail and its mixing of lies and exaggerations with elements of truth means that its heights are not those of elevated ethics.

*****

This image from mid-May 2009, revealing one Tamil man co walking out of a charred and a jarring scene behind him, was  presented by the Ministry of Defence propaganda  device; but it could easily be interpreted as a tale of the devastation that unfolded in mid-May in the LTTE’s last redoubt. That is it could be fitted into a tale of “shelling and slaughter” by the SL Army. However, what many readers will not know is that the LTTE followed standard practice among retreating armies and began blowing up all their equipment from 15th May or so (information personally communicated by Murali Reddy and Kanchan Prasad who were at SL Army command HQ at that moment – supported by details in US Dept of State, Report of Congress on Incidents during the Recent Conflict in Sri Lanka, pdf, 2009. There are ,many images in the MoD site which show the results of this explosive work).

Tamils escape from the Furnace of the LTTE’s last redoubt — Pic from Nation

 Sustenance for those who got clear of the war zone –a govt propaganda image from the Daily News  — though there is strong support for the generalisation that the troops treated the fleeing survivors with considerable kindness to judge from the  conclusions provided in UTHR Report No. 34 and the testimonies collected by Narendran Rajasingham at the IDP centres in  April and the first hand observations of Prasad and Reddy).

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

Bavinck, Ben 2011 “Pirapaharan as uncompromising killer prone to vengeance: testimonies from the Jaffna heartland, 1989-91,” http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/as uncompromising killer prone to vengeance: testimonies from the Jaffna heartland, 1989-91.

Blacker, David 2011 [Extended blog comment in} “The Wrong Photograph?” http://groundviews.org/2011/07/02/photographic-evidence-of-war-crimes-in-sri-lanka-or-not/.

De Silva-Ranasinghe, Sergei 2009a “Political and Security Implications of Sri Lanka’s Armed Conflict,” Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, Feb. 2009, Vol. 35/1, pp. 20, 22-24.

De Silva-Ranasinghe, Sergei 2009b “The Battle for the Vanni Pocket,” Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, March 2009, Vol. 35/2, pp. 17-19. http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/aulimp/citations/gsa/2009_157395/156554.html

De Silva-Ranasinghe, Sergei 2009e “Good Education. Sri Lankan Military learns Counter Insurgency Lessons,” Jane’s Intelligence Review Dec. 2009, pp. 3-7.

De Silva-Ranasinghe, Sergei 2010b “Information Warfare and the Endgame of the Civil War,” Asia-Pacific Defence Reporter, May 2010 30/4: 35-37, http://www. asiapacificdefencereporter.com/articles/40/Sri-Lanka

De Silva-Ranasinghe, Sergei 2010b “The 13th Amendment to the Constitution must be properly implemented”: Dharmalingam Siddharthan,” 22 Dec. 2010, http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/12/ the_13th_amendment_to_the_cons.html.

Flickr 2009a “Times Aerial Images, NFZ, 23 May 2009,” http://www.flickr.com/photos/thuppahi/ sets/72157626922360092./

Flickr 2009b “Indian Reporter Pics at NFZ Last Redoubt -14-to-18 May 2009,” http://www. flickr.com/photos/thuppahi/sets/72157626797805167/

Groundviews 2009 “Would killing 50,000 civilians to finish off the LTTE bring peace?” http://groundviews.org/2009/05/03/would-killing-50000-civilians-to-finish-off-the-ltte-bring-peace/

Gunaratne, Rohan 2011 “Govt should have invited the Darusman Panel,” http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/14807-govt-could-have-invited-experts-panel.html.

Hoole, Rajan 2001 Sri Lanka: The Arrogance of Power. Myths, Decadence and Murder, Colombo: Wasala Publications for the UTHR.

HRW 2006 “Funding the Final War,” 13 March 2006, http://www.hrw.org/node/11456/ section/8.

Iyer, Ganeshan 2012a “Military Training in the German Nazi Mould amidst Internal Dissension in the early LTTE, late 1970s,” trans by Parames Blacker, in http://thuppahi. wordpress.com/2012/01/30/military-training-in-the-german-nazi-mould-amidst-internal-dissension-in-the-early-ltte-late-1970s/.

Jeyaraj, D. B. S. 2009 “Wretched of the Earth break Free of Bondage.” Daily Mirror, 25 April 2009, http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/380.

Mango 2011 “Jim Macdonald of AI boxed into corner by Mango in 2009,” 10 August 2011, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/3133/

Marga Team 2011 2011 Truth and Accountability. The Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka,http://www.margasrilanka.org/Truth-Accountability.pdf

Narayan Swamy, M. R. 2003 Inside an Elusive Mind. Prabhakaran, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications.

Narayan Swamy, M. R. 2009 “Prabhakaran: from Catapult Killer to Ruthless Insurgent,” IANS, 18 May 2009 – see http://twocircles.net/node/148596 [reprinted in The Tiger Vanquished, pp. 165-67].

Ragavan 2009a “Interview with Ragavan on Tamil Militancy (Early Years),” http://kafila.org/2009/02/16/interview-with-ragavan-on-tamil-militancy-part-i/

Rajasingham, Narendran 2009 “Rise and Fall of the LTTE — An Overview,” Sri Lanka Guardian, 7 Feb. 2009.

Reddy, B. Muralidhar 2009 “Multiple Displacements, Total Loss of Identity,” http://www.hindu.com/2009/05/27/stories/2009052755811500.htm

Roberts, Michael 2009a “Dilemmas at War’s End: Thoughts on Hard Realities,” 10 Feb. 2009, http://groundviews.org/2009/02/10/dilemmas-at-wars-end-thoughts-on-hard-realities/.

Roberts, Michael 2009b “Dilemma’s at War’s End: Clarifications and Counter-offensive,” www.groundviews.org.

Roberts, Michael 2009c “Realities of War,” Frontline, 26/10, 9-22 May 2009.

Roberts, Michael 2011a “People of Righteousness march on Sri Lanka,” The Island, 22 June 2011 and https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/people-of-righteousness-target-sri-lanka/

Roberts, Michael 2011b “Amnesty International reveals its Flawed Tunnel-Vision in Sri Lanka in 2009,” 10 Aug. 2011, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/amnesty-international-reveals-its-flawed-tunnel-vision-on-sri-lanka-in-2009/

Roberts, Michael 2011c “The Tamil Death Toll in Early 2009: A Misleading Count by Rohan Gunaratna,” 23 November 2011, http://transcurrents.com/news-views/archives/6285.

Roberts, Michael 2012 “Blackmail during the endgame of Eelam War IV,” 12 April 2012, https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/blackmail-during-the-endgame-in-eelam-war-iv/

Samarajiva, Indi 2012 “Channel 4’s – A Review,” The Nation, 18 March 2012, http://www.nation.lk/edition/feature-viewpoint.

SRHRL 2012 “High-Resolution Satellite Imagery and the Conflict in Sri Lanka,” http://srhrl.aaas.org/geotech/srilanka/srilanka.shtml.

Tammita-Delgoda , S. 2009 Sri Lanka. The Last Phase in Eelam War IV. From Chundikulam to Pudukulam,” New Delhi: Centre for Land Warfare, Manekshaw Paper No. 13, 2009.

Tekwani, Shyam 2009 ‘The Man who destroyed Eelam,” http://www.tehelka.com/home /20090523/default.asp.

UN Panel of Experts 2011 “Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Sri Lanka,” http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_Lanka/POE_Report.

UTUBE 2009Sri Lanka Genocide And Tamil Canadian,” 11March 2009, involving Robert Buerk of BBC and Anna Neistat Lenin benedict and a spokesman for the Tamil Canadian, https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OJsAa7s4Asg

Wijesinha, Rajiva 2012 “Benjamin Dix’s Paranoia, and the subtle effectiveness of Guy Rhodes in abusing aid in Sri Lanka,” http://rajivawijesinha.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/benjamin-dixs-paranoia-and-the-subtle-effectiveness-of-guy-rhodes-in-abusing-aid-in-sri-lanka/#more-4898.

Wijesinha, Rajiva 2012a “Frances Harrison, Daran of Channel 4 claims, and the ‘othering’ of Arun Tambimuttu” Daily news 22 may 2012

 

17 Comments

Filed under accountability, atrocities, australian media, authoritarian regimes, Eelam, gordon weiss, historical interpretation, life stories, LTTE, mass conscription, military strategy, nationalism, news fabrication, NGOs, politIcal discourse, power politics, prabhakaran, propaganda, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, tamil refugees, Tamil Tiger fighters, truth as casualty of war, violence of language, war crimes, world events & processes

17 responses to “Misreading and Distorting the Sri Lankan War, 2009-2012

  1. Happy Heathen

    Another cogently argued piece.

    unfortunately this might not be enough to dislodge the plethora of lies propagated by the pseudo-intellectuals like David Kumar, Latte Leftists like Gordon Weiss and the erudite members of Flat Earth Society.

    It is interesting you mention Marga Institute and this is what David Kumar has to say about that:
    “This is what the big wide world out there believes, and it has never heard of, nor takes any notice of guys called Godfrey Goonetilleke and their local ilk. ”
    He seems to believe that even the farts from West smell good! What is more hilarious is that here is a self-proclaimed Marxist who supports Murdoch Press and R2P (Rush to Plunder) which is essentially an imperialist tool designed to conquer ‘the other’ in a modern world, which is analogues to the historical Portuguese/Dutch/English quest to civilize the heathens. (Edward Said notes the original imperialist position took by Marx when it comes to countries like India)
    It is more hilarious to note the inherent contradiction/paradox in his argument…”not takes any notice of guys called Godfrey Goonetilleke and their LOCAL ilk” . Kumar David himself is local thus one will hear or take any notice of him as well.
    The erudite membership of Flat Earth Society proliferates unabated.

    I am no Rajapaske stooge, but it is time to call a spade a spade which has been called a spoon for too long.

  2. Happy Heathen

    As we were talking about pseudo-intellectuals, let’s see what a real intellectual has to say….the following excerpt was taken from a relatively obscure article written By late Christopher Hitchens immediately after the conclusion of Ealam war.

    “It’s just not true, as some liberals tend to believe, that insurgencies, once under way, have history on their side. As well as by nations like Britain and Russia, they can be beaten by determined Third World states, such as Algeria in the 1990s and even Iraq in the present decade. Insurgent leaderships often make mistakes on the “hearts and minds” front, just as governments do, and governments are not always stupid to ban the press from the front line, tell the human rights agencies to stay the hell out of the way, and rely on the popular yearning for law and order. It can also be important to bear in mind, as in Sri Lanka became crucial, that majorities have rights, too.”

    The original article could be found here…
    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2009/05/the_end_of_the_tamil_tigers.html

    Please note the comment by one Tamil gentleman.

    It is also interesting to note that Christopher Hitchens had the audacity to sue Henry Kissinger, when the so called International Community awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to Kissinger for slaughtering 3,000,000 hapless Vietnamese. And Kumar David wants to hang Rajapakse and all the Singhalese who voted him for “40,000” deaths!!!!!

    The Latte Leftists and the sections of Tamil Diaspora are gonging to exploit this “40,000” deaths to the maximum as the Jews are doing with the ‘holocaust’ as cogently argued by Norman Finkelstein in his seminal book “The Holocaust Industry”. I can see a Tamil Genocide Industry in the making.

  3. malaka

    Look at this Rubbish 40,000 t0 100,000 thousand… Bogus numbers.. do you know why even the UN dares not tread these bogus and disputed numbers.. Given out by socalled Eelamist Human rights groups only… During Hiroshima a 15 kiloton of TNT Nuclear Bomb dropped in the middle of a City where the Kill rate was 60,000 civilians.. and Nagasaki 20 kiloton TNT plutonium Bomb in a built up city where 80,000 died.. these are minus Radiation after effects.. Now According to Janes defence.. The Lankan Forces.. and the type of conventional weaponery and these weapons compared to current weapons by US and nato forces are even less pwoerful.. and the Volume of the TNT is in fact a mathematical impossibility to achieve a 40,000 kill rate and espically given the the unconcentrated scattered ares of fighting, and espically when most of these wepaons was also used in the EASTERN theatre.. thus depleting more fire power.. Now compared to the FACTS of janes defence weekely and the conventional Fire power of the TNT used in two fronts of the Lankan war.. its a mathematical impossibility.. But the Lankan government cannot deny that civilians(held hostage by LTTE) wasnt killed.. Its a certainty…. Now we must come to the Millions of USD raised by the Eelamist movement which translated to Weapons on the Ground Used by the Eelamist Proxy the LTTE.. Light and Heavy weapons and the LTTE fighters who fought in two fronts in civilian uniforms and also the Suicide Bombers of the Black Tigers.. So where are the Figures of these???? No doubt mixed with the socalled 40,000 bogus civilian figures…

  4. Interesting analysis. I think that the figure of 40,000 lost quite a bit of credibility after it was omitted from Weiss’s book. Also the Darusman was a very vague document that used meaningless terms like “Credible Allegations” and “Cannot be ruled out”. I am still a somewhat skeptical about Rohan Gunaratna’s low figures.

  5. Well, Mr. Roberts,
    To go to the matter of your own credibility, have you ever apologized ion public for minimizing the number of civilians trapped in the Vanni, just as the Rajapaksa regime did. That you rushed to defend the war and took potshots at human rights groups with a phony number, makes yourself a phony. Enough said.

    • Well Agnos! My estimate re numbers TRAPPED was erroneous – as were so many other estimates THEN, including THOSE aligned with the LTTE”s blackmail game who claimed something like 450,000 on occasions. The main point, however, is that the LTTE was responsible for their TRAPPED CIRCUMSTANCE [and thus was responsible for ALL deaths — though this does not mean that GoSL was pursuing a “humanitarian operation.” That was a preposterous propaganda pitch and unbecoming of a state authority whose first duty to the people of SL was to win the war – as recognised in a GV debate sparked on 3 May 2009 on the issue of how many deaths could be tolerated in order to conclude a struggle that had debilitated the island for 25 years].

      The fact that I was wrong then on that issue does not mean I am wrong now. Anyway they are not my figures and I rely on the estimates of Sarvananthan, Nadesan and Narendran. Go to http://THUPPAHI.WORDPRESS.COM/2011/12/01/THE-TAMIL-DEATH-TOLL-IN-EARLY-2009-CHALLENGING-ROHAN-GUNARATNA where I use these three sources (plus more) to challenge Rohan Gunaratna’s ridiculous, low estimate. These blokes themselves relied on testimonies provided by some of the trapped Tamils as well as reviews by Tamil officials whom they have met subsequently in the years 2009-11.

      The issue is still debated terrain of course; and my essay does not purport to be the last word on the topic. But I think there is strong prima facie evidence to indicate that (1) the figure of 40,000 “civilian deaths” is an absurd claim and (2) cannot be presented with the CERTAINTY with which it has been vested.

      All writers and opinions are directed by SUBJECTIVITY. Since you impugn my partiality I think you should consider the mote in your own eye. Your species of argument reveals the one-upmanship and manipulative reasoning of propagandists devoted to a cause. You seem to be in the category INCORRIGIBLE. I doubt if I will persuade you.

      Way back in the 1970s, Professor S. Arasaratnam contended that the Sinhala and Tamil extremists at both poles feed off each other and exacerbate the friction. Your line of commentary exemplifies the Tamil pole of extremism. Your type is a blight.….… and a blight that hides under pseudonyms. I normally do not engage in blog bouts, especially against anonymous personnel who write from afar without recent experience of a personal sort in Lanka (like Narendran for instance). So you have sparked me. But I will not respond again to any more bilge from you.
      Michael Roberts

  6. Tony Fernando

    The postmortems and number crunching to place the entire blame on the GOSL is the conspiracy well hatched by the LTTE sympathizers and political vultures in Tamil Nadu. Who started the war? Who gave them weapons training and safe heavens in South India? Was it the Ghandi Family, MGR, Karunanidhi? Oh no none of them. Then it must be the GOSL. Who turned a blind eye, when the moderate Tamils were butchered in the name of Tamil Eelam? the UN, the political vultures of TN or the Western NGO’s? no not them. It must have been the GOSL. Who provided them with weekly, monthly and annual subscriptions? to procure arms and weapons of destruction? The Tamil diaspora? NGO’s Tamil Nadu or Indian politicians? No. None of them. Then it must have been the GOSL.
    What was the total death toll? if number crunching is a must. Since May 2009 how many have died due to the war? If it did not stop in May 2009 what could be the death toll by now?
    TNA the bunch of cowards, said yes when Prabakaran ordered them to jump and asked how high? Al least now they have got their spines corrected to travel the world and issue statements on how bad the country is and how difficult for Tamils to live in Sri Lanka whilst mingling freely with the Colombians in cocktail circles. Hypocrisy at its highest. Their morals are no better than that of an ally-cat.
    This is the tragy-comedy of the century. A terrorist organization labeled as the most ruthless under Gods creation and the TNA who aided and abated the killing machine now being portrayed as innocent victims. The photo of the son of Prabakaran being portrayed as an innocent victim of the Army whilst not even a hum on the hundreds of toddlers butchered in their sleep by the LTTE begs for an answer by the so called human rightists.
    If there should be an impartial enquiry, TNA and the diaspora who without complaining to the UN or any other world body for forced contributions to the killing spree of the Tamil Eelam must also be enquired for their hand in the 30 year long war. They cannot do a Caesar by washing their bloodied hands for their direct and indirect involvement in the war and bringing untold misery, death and destruction to the innocent and helpless tamil people who war finally trapped with the LTTE as a human shield against the Army.
    There should be two parties for an enquiry. If the GOSL is one then the other should and must be the TNA and the Tamil diaspora represented by the Global tamil organizations who have now come out in the open trying to continue with the campaign stalled by the LTTE.
    There is enough human right violations in India. Women are still treated in most parts as second class and rape is justified and treated with lukewarm response. Poverty at its worst in Tamilnadu with people living in appalling conditions with cattle whilst the political vultures live in the lap of luxury even robbing the people as did Jayalalitha & Kanimoshi of Karunanidi fame. The film Water by Deepa Metha, an accomplished Indian, shows the extreme violations still being practiced. Why don’t they put their house in order before meddling in other peoples back yards to look for fallen leaves.
    Please remember, Sri Lanka has and will do the correct thing when it comes to geopolitics. China is our friend who has no fear of us and vise versa. Being big is not might or right. History has enough lessons to show what has happened to big bullies. A new chapter will emerge sooner than later and politics will have nothing to do with that.

  7. Pingback: Spot Fixing Sri Lanka Style: Revisiting the Enumeration of Vital Events | Sri Lanka

  8. Pingback: » Spot Fixing Sri Lanka Style: Revisiting the Enumeration of Vital Events

  9. Pingback: BBC-Blind: Misreading the Tamil Tiger Strategy of International Blackmail, 2008-13 | Thuppahi's Blog

  10. Pingback: Fashioning a Spectre of Disaster with Aid from Humanitarian Agencies: Tamil Marvels | Thuppahi's Blog

  11. Pingback: The War in Sri Lanka and Propaganda Debates | Thuppahi's Blog

  12. Pingback: Meeting Ex-Tigers and Addressing the Issue of Rehabilitation | Thuppahi's Blog

  13. Pingback: The Missing in Lanka: An Old Bibliography … Further Supplemented | Thuppahi's Blog

  14. Pingback: Past in the Present: Deciphering the Cosmological Threads in Sri Lankan Politics | Thuppahi's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.